We’re comfortably settled into the Austrian Weihnachten tradition, placing the Christbaumschmuck on the Christbaum and drinking the Orangenpunsch they sell on every corner at the Christkindlmarkt. We’ve seen no place more Christmassy than Salzburg on Thanksgiving, but we’re sticking Vienna for Christmas so the girls can spend the week decorating home (all they sell at Christkindlmarkts is Orangenpunsch and Christbaumschmuck – so the family has bought a lot of Schmuck while I’ve been enjoying the Punsch).
2013 was a good year with travels through Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany as well as more Austrian mountain towns. The girls seem confident that they’ve seen enough palace museums, haven’t yet tired of ancient Roman ruins, and do like our belated discovery of trains. We’re learning a lot more about Hapsburg history and how Vienna is the center of the universe (or at least was from 1519-1556). The girls are both studying German in school along with the general subjects. Caroline is in band, learning flute with a graduate student from the University of Vienna; Louisa is studying violin with a lady who used to play in the New York Philharmonic. Vienna is a great place to learn music (evidently pretty competitive to make a living as a musician though). The different things about Austria no longer seem out of place, like selling lingerie in the coffee shops, dogs & cats in restaurants, or the three S’s of Austria on every single menu (schnitzel/strudel/schnapps).
Have enjoyed a lot of visitors this year and looking forward to more this week. Let us know if you’re in the area.
Have attached one of the rare family photos where all eyes are open and looking in the general direction of the camera, as well as Caroline and Louisa at Salzburg Christkindlmarkt in their Austrian outfits.
Caroline, Louisa, Diane & Andy